KARNATAKA

102 families shifted from fort area

Houses in the fort area being demolished.  

CHITRADURGA, AUG. 21. The three-decade-old problem of encroachments in the Chitradurga fort area has been resolved with the shifting of as many as 102 families from the fort area to a colony built for them by the district administration. The process of shifting to the colony in the outskirts of the town began on Friday. The reacquisition and demolition of the unauthorised structures in fort area has also begun.

The Chitradurga City Municipal Council (CMC), the Survey Department, and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted a joint survey and identified around 102 unauthorised structures in the fort area. The same committee, in the second phase of its survey, found around 990 encroachments. The Government is now removing the encroachments identified in first phase. The former Union Minister for Tourism Jagmohan visited the fort six months ago and sanctioned Rs. 1 crore for the improvement of facilities and beautification of fort. The Deputy Commissioner, M.A. Sadiq, had also requested the Union Minister to grant Rs. 30 lakhs for the rehabilitation of evacuees from the fort area. The district administration swung into action as soon as Rs. 15 lakhs was released from the Union Government. The construction of 102 houses, along with 37 houses to be allotted to the victims of major fire accidents, was completed in 65 days. The locality with complete infrastructure — asphalted roads and water and power connections — was ready for occupation last month.

Mr. Sadiq said that each house cost around Rs. 35,000 and the total cost was around Rs. 40 lakhs. Money for the construction of the colony was raised under several schemes of the State Government, he added.

"Procuring the land was a tough task as there was no land available in the town and the State Slum Clearance Board came forward to give around five acres. We took special care in designing the colony. We have provided individual toilets and bathrooms in all the houses, as we knew that community toilets would not be maintained properly for long," Mr. Sadiq said.

According to sources, the process of shifting would be completed by Tuesday. All the houses in the fort area would then be demolished and a compound wall around the acquired land would be built. The land would be handed over to the ASI.